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Old 13-01-2008, 12:18   #1
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Question Which Motor Sailer?

Hello everyone, just joined this forum today and looking for some suggestions(not rude ones). I used to sail a Waterwich from Portsmouth along South Coast and Channel hopping until about 20 years ago when pressure of work forced me to give it up. I am now in the happy state of preparing to re-enter the cruising fraternity and will be starting a RYA course to catch up with all the modern sailing aids - things have progressed since the days of dropping a stick over the bow and timing it to the stern. What I will b e looking for is a motor sailer of between 35 and 50 feet with a proper wheelhouse and, preferably an aft cabin as well. I would prefer a ketch but could live with a cutter or a sloop providing it ticked all the right boxes. I plan to sail with my keen wife to the Greek islands for a year or so and then maybe across the Indian ocean to Kerala.
The nearest to just about right that I have seen so far has been a Roamer III.
What I don't want is anything new and prefer something with a few miles under her keel.
Any guidance would be welcome
Brian Owen
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Old 13-01-2008, 13:53   #2
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Old 13-01-2008, 14:14   #3
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I think what you are looking for is a Pilot House sloop, cutter, or ketch not a motor sailor. You'll find many of the Nordic boats come that way due to the colder temperatures. Motor sailors are a cross between a power boat and a sail boat and have different properties.
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Old 13-01-2008, 15:25   #4
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Which Motor sailer

Thanks for your reply Paul, it may be that there is a certain elasticity of meaning to the term motor sailer. I mean a boat where the steering position is enclosed within an enclosure with a door either to the rear or to the side and not with just a roof and/or spray dodger over the helm position. Most of the broker's sites which I have looked at seem to classify some of that type as motor sailers
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Old 13-01-2008, 17:57   #5
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Hello and welcome Brian,
Choosing a motor sailor is always a compromise between; bulk capacity and seaworthiness, sail efficiency and displacement, conveniences and maintenance costs.

Finding an older one that has been well maintained and strikes the right balance (for you) is a challenge that takes patience and a lot of homework so that you can understand what you are getting into.

Definitely worth the effort, but beware the lemons with undersized rigging and fittings more suitable on a house-boat.

My motor-sailor StarGazer, is a Dutch built Van Helleman Design built in 1984 of Corten Steel.
I love the ergonomics of this well built and maintained boat and I am very happy with my purchase.

I have no experience with the Roamer so cannot comment on the quality. I am not a fan of the mid ship sliding door access, but that’s just personal.
Good luck with your search
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Old 13-01-2008, 23:10   #6
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Hi Brian and welcome to the forum. Were are you situated. It may help in knowing what is on offer where.
I hope the following ramblings help.
When I first looked at a boat, I chose a Ketch because I though the smaller sail plan would be easier for the two of us to handle. Although I was correct, I think a cutter/sloop rig would also be fine if good gear was fitted to aid handling. We also liked the "motorsailer" layout. The word motorsailer has rather different meanings. From sailboat that can either motor or sail equally as well, through to vessels that are primary motor powered and use a sail to aid fuel consumption and speed. We have a ketch with a 6.354 engine that will happily drive the boat along as if it was dependant on engine only. Yet if I raise the sails, it can happily drive along just like any other sailboat. The Pilot house or sometimes can be called the "storm room" is solid and offers great weather protection in bad situations. There is an outside helm that offers excellent sailing positions. We found 45ft to be a good size. it offers us plenty of room, yet we have not found it overly large to handle in tight marinas. Plus the most common marina berth is 12m(45ft). Over that and it can sometimes get difficult to find a birth. We have an aft cabin. This is excellent when we have others onboard. It gives us a place of our own and gives us some privacy.
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Old 14-01-2008, 01:13   #7
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Which Motor sailer

Thanks for your comments. One of the boats I'm considering will be the Hartley Tahitian. I am aware that, as with a secondhand car, a knowledgeable personal walkround survey is important, even more so for a passage making boat. Having had my Waterwitch, I have a great deal of respect for wooden boats but this time I think that I would prefer a steel or ferro boat then, if everything else were perfect, I would grudgingly go for GRP.
I am determined not to rush into a decision and I expect my search to take months, possibly a year or two rather than weeks. When I bought my French farmhouse is was an "impulse" buy after 2 years of looking and research.
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Old 14-01-2008, 01:42   #8
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I am like you. I research. I am so pleased with our Tahitian. And I have fallen in love with FC construction. You will find many naysayers out there, but it is not about the construction. It is about the boat. A Tahitian is designed to be built in FC. It wouldn't matter what it was built in, as long as weight remains correct for it's design, it will always sail the same. So that brings in a couple of extra question to add to your search list.
What sort of passage maker do you want. If fast, then GRP and the fast hull designs is what you want. If slower but comfortable, then FC and Steel hulls are the go. Powerful, then the Tahitian, IMPO is the way to go. We move along nicely in 8 to 10kt. We start powering in 15kts. In 20kts we are tramping and the power you feel is simply awesome. At 25kts we are looking at reefing. At 30kts we take in the next reef, but mate are we clocking off the miles. And a lumpy sea just irons out under her. I haven't sailed in over 30kts and 8ft seas yet. Whenever it has been wilder than that, we have always had the misfortune of having to motor.
OK, so I'm biased.
Ok, so maybe I'm biased.
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Old 14-01-2008, 16:29   #9
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I think that a Hartley Tahitian would make an excellent choice for what you want. Unlike many motorsailors which tend to be displacement motor boats with steadying sails, the Tahitian series is a true 50/50 motor sailor, in other words they sail as well as they motor and vice versa. being designed for ferro construction they are of a heavier displacement which means loads of room inside. Ferro cement is well proven for strength and longevity when constructed properly and they are warm and dry boats.

One area that I would be unsure of there suitability is in hot climates. My Hartley Tasman, which is a baby Tahitian gets very hot inside on hot days, as the ferro decks seem to heat up like an oven and radiate an intense heat into the cabin. My decks are however painted grey and it may not be such an issue if they were white.
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Old 14-01-2008, 23:00   #10
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I used to have the same issue. Heat was unbearable. This year..I mean last year...we painted her white and it has made a world of difference.
Brian, NZ is a great place to look for Tahitians. They come up often. So I suggest you take a look around some NZ sites and see what you can come up with.
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Old 29-06-2011, 14:48   #11
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Re: Which Motor Sailer?

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Originally Posted by Alan Wheeler View Post
I used to have the same issue. Heat was unbearable. This year..I mean last year...we painted her white and it has made a world of difference.
Brian, NZ is a great place to look for Tahitians. They come up often. So I suggest you take a look around some NZ sites and see what you can come up with.
--Just curious if Hartly boats are factory made in fiberglass ? and any info you might have come across on a yellow 65ft tahitian i saw advertized some time ago{6-8 months}.Cant seem to retrieve that from my puter as i had the memory wiped recently to erase some delicate files i had allready dealt with. You being in the area where the boat has lying i thought perhaps you might know . From what i read online an engineer owned it and it was painted bright yellow ketch rigged. CHEERS
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Old 30-06-2011, 21:29   #12
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Re: Which Motor Sailer?

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Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
I think what you are looking for is a Pilot House sloop, cutter, or ketch not a motor sailor. You'll find many of the Nordic boats come that way due to the colder temperatures. Motor sailors are a cross between a power boat and a sail boat and have different properties.
The vast majority of sailboats are motorsailors, imo.

All sailboats with motors are motorsailors, and the only difference is the degree in which one propulsion method is highlighted in it's design. The type of motorsailor you reference above does typically use the motor more than the usual "sail"boat that also relies on having a motor, but they are in the same category nonetheless.

True sailboats are extremely rare over a certain loa (20' maybe?).

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Old 30-06-2011, 23:36   #13
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Re: Which Motor Sailer?

The Camper and Nicholsons 38 from the late 60s and early 70s was designed as a "motor sailor", but the motor part was supposedly dropped after it won races by being the fastest under both motor and sail in its class. Built in your neck of the woods - Gosport. And built like a tank, very stable/stiff, a well made boat.

May not meet your requirement for a pilot house, though the center cockpit is fully enclosed and very protective. It's a ketch that handles very well and is easily balanced. Several circumnavigated. Problem is finding one - only about 135 were built, but there is usually one for saile in the EU. User group at: www.nicholson38.org
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